June 6, 2012
Paris. The city of romance. With picturesque cafes on almost every corner, countless bridges crossing the Seine begging for twilight strolls and stolen glances, architecture that dazzles for days, and the omnipresent accordion harking back to sweeter, slower days, how could you not fall in love? In a day no less. And we’re not talking about the dashing young men in lively conversation over espressos. You’re falling in love with no one other than yourself. Here is our guide to romancing yourself in the city of Light.
9am. To the heart by way of the stomach. Begin your day with a croissant or pain au chocolat still warm from the oven from a local boulangerie. For the best pastries Paris has to offer, head to Le Grenier a Pain, strategically scattered throughout the city. I recommend the Montmartre location, which won the award for best baguette in 2010! Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 20 Comments »
March 28, 2012
Cristina Lasarte is the voice behind the gorgeous blog From Buenos Aires to Paris. Her mouthwatering photography and playful recipes, inspired by her Argentinean heritage and her new life in France, keep us coming back to her blog again and again. Here, she shares her recipe for Blue Smoked Salmon Macarons, the perfect amuse-bouche for your next elegant get-together. Enjoy! – Geneviève
It was exactly my fourth post ever… Those who had been following my blog right from the very first day (if I did have any followers to speak of then) saw a shy Argentinean blogger producing some mauve macarons, photographed in a ring box.
The photo was picked up by Foodgawker and before I had even really understood what blogging was about, the world was looking at my blog: Singapore, Alaska, Arkansas, Russia… One thousand clicks in two hours. That was back in 2009. You can still find the recipe here, and in Audrey Hepburn’s company here.
Savory macarons are not my invention. In fact, the “father” of modern macarons, Pierre Hermé, started playing with the idea of giving traditional sweet macarons a savory twist long ago.
One day, I thought of making something elegant… Something with salmon, and something black… Yes, black macarons!
I went to G. DeTout to buy black food coloring. Back home, I started adding tiny quantities of this coloring to my Italian meringue, and it started turning…mauve. Mauve? Another half coffee spoon… deeper mauve! I paused and wondered: should I continue adding color, or stop here? I hate it when macarons dye my tongue! And this shade of mauve was so beautiful… And it matched my poppy seeds perfectly! Yes, the match was sealed.
Today, my mauve salmon macarons have become a trademark of my Menu Malbec catering service. After all this time, I decided a new photo shoot was in order. After all, two years of blogging had improved my photography skills.
I have to admit that sometimes people look at me with a skeptical eye: “Salmon in a sweet macaron? Is the crust savory at least?” Until the first bite, when all doubts vanish!
The savory macarons are here to stay… Not only with salmon, but with foie gras now as well…who could think of something more appropriate for holiday parties? Chicissime! Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 9 Comments »
October 6, 2011
Ladurée macarons in their sleek box (Louis Beche)
For years, everyone—especially New Yorkers—has been clamoring for the death of the cupcakes. Let those pastel-colored, frosting-slathered, sprinkled-adorned, oh-so-cute sugar bombs be over! Can we puh-leeze move on?? And it would appear, with Ladurée’s arrival on Madison Avenue, New Yorkers may finally get their wish: the macaron could soon trump the cupcake as the sweet du jour.
Ladurée’s new NYC store, and its line of fans (Amy Thomas)
Of course Parisians are well acquainted with Ladurée, the 149-year-old salon de thé that purportedly invented the macaron. But with the exception of savvy New Yorkers who used to raid the Champs-Elysées store for a box of Technicolor two-bite treats, and then proudly parade their pale green shopping bags around the Upper East Side, the French brand has remained an exotic import to New Yorkers. Which explains the two-hour queues.
To be fair, by the time I made it to Ladurée, three weeks after it opened, the line was down to a 15-minute wait. As if I were a macaron virgin, the dauntless teenager in front of me who had previously waited hours for a Ladurée hit, told me the sweets “were totally worth the wait.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Travel | 12 Comments »
November 29, 2010
When I leave Paris for extended periods of time, I’m sometimes overcome with a panicky feeling that I’m losing touch, losing ground, floating into a France-less obscurity, and that when I return, I won’t recognize the city anymore. Or worse, that it won’t recognize me.
But as soon as I come back—as I have now, for three weeks—I realize the futility of such thinking. If there is any city that is adamant about retaining its traditions, its quirks, its pace and its “sameness,” it is Paris. So I’m happy to report that the French are more or less wearing the same thing (black), eating the same things (steak frites, baguettes, macarons), waiting for the same thing (retirement) and complaining about the same things (everything).
Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 17 Comments »
October 25, 2010
Merce and the Muse – coffee and cakes – Erica Berman
Those who have lived in Paris know: we are endowed with a magical power.
Once you’ve been a Parisian (or a faux Parisian), you automatically have the ability to cast a spell over any American you subsequently encounter, simply by sprinkling key phrases into conversation:
“Well, when I lived in Paris…”
“I used to live in Paris, so…”
“In Paris (I used to live there)…”
“…reminds me a little bit of Paris, but…”
Yes, you will sound slightly (or completely) pretentious. But more importantly, you will elicit a distinct blend of jealousy and awe from whomever you are addressing, because quite simply, you have lived their dream. In fact, you have lived many an American’s dream.
From this side of the Atlantic, the darker realities of Parisian living (endless strikes, French bureaucracy, the exchange rate, the French attitude) cease to exist. It’s all fresh-baked baguettes and macarons and aimless strolling and sunsets over the Seine and, of course, L-O-V-E. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 26 Comments »
July 1, 2010
Rachel Khoo, at work
As the savory macarons (half of them, cream cheese and wasabi; half green olive tapenade) were passed around the 12th arrondissement apartment, the talk inevitably turned to food. It was a Thursday night, and I was at Rachel Khoo’s Mash Up soirée, an 80s-inspired, five-course dinner party organized through MyPrivateDinner.com, a site that coordinates tastings, workshops and other food-centric events. Rachel, a British cookbook author, class instructor and damn good chef, along with all us foreigners (plus a few locals) in attendance were self-defined foodies, so the night was filled with many edible adventures.
By the second course (a two-toned tartiflette of root veggies, roquette and copious amounts of Reblochon, which came on the heels of, wait for it, edible pacman with pâté powerballs), I was deep in conversation with Kimberley McLoughlin, an Aussie who just launched RedVisitor.com. While her site focuses on international travel, she’s also a restaurant devotée and knows the best eateries in the top culinary cities around the world. Clearly, I realized as I sipped my Tom Cruise-inspired Cocktail, I’m not the only expat in Paris who’s just a wee bit obsessed with food and eating and dinner parties and new restaurants and food porn and sweets and cooking classes and market tours and….are we full yet??
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 2 Comments »
June 21, 2010
This delicious recipe comes courtesy of new Hip Paris friend Cristina – cook, writer, photographer and blogger extraordinaire. Her mouth-watering blog, From Buenos Aires to Paris, grew from her desire to learn to cook like the French – which is something we can all relate to! For scrumptious recipes and inviting images all year long be sure to check out Christina’s delicious blog. Be sure to let all of us at HiP Paris know what you think of the moelleux once you have baked one!
One of the things that first catches our foreign eye when we come to France, apart from the Eiffel Tower, is the moelleux au chocolat — that typical French cake, so simple, yet so decadent, moist, scrumptious …And, immediately, we come to the conclusion that such a treat must be archi-compliqué to make… It ‘s French after all !
Today, I am going to show you not only how to make a moelleux but to take it to haute-pâtisserie levels, by coating it with the most luscious mirror glaze, and to top it off, a wonderfully fresh array of berries…
What ? You believe you can’t make it ? Well, unlike most foodbloggers who admit having felt a passion for cooking since an early age, I spent all my life away from the kitchens, teaching at schools and university, until one day, destiny took me to France (Yes, we are puppets in the hands of God), and there, a new passion was born ! but since learning on my own was hard, I decided to train professionally both in Buenos Aires and in Paris : Ecole Alain Ducasse, Ecole Lenôtre, in Plaisir…internship with the famous Parisian pâtissier Gérard Mulot…
This cake is not hard to make, but the first secret to incredible taste and texture begins with top quality chocolate … here I used Vahrona 61% cacao (you can buy the 1kilo package at G. Detou – 58 rue Tiquetonne). I would advise you chocolate no less than 55% cacao, but not too high either, since the cake might turn too bitter. Same holds good for the cocoa powder…this incredibly brilliant mirror glaze is impossible to achieve without good cocoa powder
Ok, let’s get working…here is the recipe…
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 5 Comments »
May 26, 2010
As a New Yorker, I find it equal parts utter insanity and totally logical that as soon as I moved to Paris last year—with visions of millefeuilles, pains au chocolat, artisan chocolates and good old Nutella street crepes dancing through my head—I wound up Velib’ing through the back streets of the eleventh arrondissement seeking the city’s then cupcakes-only bakery. It took a few wrong turns down some side streets, but I found Cupcakes & Co, with sunlight happily spilling across the sole café table—an auspicious signpost pointing to the delicious display case of American delights.
Rebecca and Maggie Bellity, the two sisters who opened Cupcakes & Co in 2008, pride themselves on using natural and organic baking ingredients for their petits gateaux. And even though the concept arose from their travels to the states, their recipes are all French. They’ve dreamed up combinations like jasmine and vanilla, lemon and coconut, coffee and hazelnut and over a dozen others that set my heart racing and ensured many weeks of repeat business.
That was well over a year ago. And as my American obsession has waned (grace à new obsessions with macarons, violet éclairs and salted caramels), the Parisians’ has exploded. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 23 Comments »
April 19, 2010
All photos by Maggie Battista, except where noted
The volcanic eruption in Iceland has changed my (and likely your) travel plans pretty dramatically. I was supposed to be back with the husband in cold and rainy New England but am instead stranded in bright and sunny Paris. Despite feeling pretty helpless, as you may imagine, I am not getting much sympathy from friends and family. Taking the bull by the horns, I have decided to make the most of every extra moment in this perfect city. I’m sharing my five-step plan with you, with the hopes that it may help those of you also stranded in Paris or anywhere in Europe.
1. Revisit your favorite restaurant and hope for a sweet homecoming. I’ve visited some fabulous restaurants during my stay in Paris, only to be warmly welcomed (most of the time) upon my second visit. The staff at Le Miroir, Glou and, especially, Le Pure Café have been attentive, sweet and delighted by my return visits. However, I only just discovered my favorite restaurant in Paris a few days ago. La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 45 51 74 61) is a little neighborhood joint, only four blocks from my flat, run by an unlikely duo – she’s an experienced grandmother-like host, he’s a young, cool bartender/server. Together, they run an efficient, candle-lit, warm diner that whips up nine seasonal comfort dishes (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. I felt so at home here, so much so that I’m hoping a return trip will ease my travel plan pain. If it doesn’t, I’m pretty certain a return trip to my favorite Paris wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, will do the trick. Wine cures all ills, right?
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping, Travel | 6 Comments »
March 19, 2010
Photos by Nichole Robertson
Macaron lovers rejoice. March 20 is the Jour du Macaron in Paris. This annual celebration, dreamed up five years ago by the famed pâtissier Pierre Hermé, finds pastry shops giving their meringue-y little delights away for free.
Customers are encouraged to make a charitable donation on their way out the door. It’s a sweet idea in celebration of spring and in support of research to treat rare diseases.
The crowds will be large this Saturday at Pierre Hermé, with fans lining up to choose any three of his famous macarons. Tempting flavors for spring 2010 include white truffle with grilled hazelnut and foie gras with chocolate, along with traditional favorites like coffee, caramel, and three kinds of vanilla. But Hermé isn’t the only one sharing his cookies…
> For a list of participating pâtisseries, continue reading at Budget Travel.
> For a report on last year’s celebration, check out Dorie Greenspan’s post here.
Catch more of Meg Zimbeck’s fabulous writeups here and here.
View more of Nichole Robertson’s stunning photos here.
Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Posted in Food | 2 Comments »